Monday 18 November 2019

The price register is a mixed blessing

Donal Buckley

Donal Buckley

Vendors will now have to be more realistic about their asking prices for their homes following publication this week of the property price register. That applies not alone to those who ask much more than market value but also to those whose guide prices are too low.

Understandably most vendors usually want to get the best price possible for their home and traditionally most guide prices advertised for properties were pitched well above the likely selling price.

In the first few years of the market downturn, however, vendors were still in a mindset that had not acknowledged the pace at which prices were falling. Consequently those over-priced properties which were well above the new reality were left unsold for months if not years.

Then along came the Allsopspace auctions last year and the new reality began to sink home with vendors. Soon afterwards other agents began to learn from the Allsop experience and advised those vendors who wanted a relatively fast sale that they needed to slash their asking prices.

Not alone did these moves pay off in attracting viewers to the realistically priced homes but they also sparked increased competitive bidding so that properties in sought after areas have been selling for over their guide prices and recent surveys show Dublin price rises.

Furthermore in this week's Allsopspace auction a number of regional homes sold for well over their guide prices such as the three-bedroom terraced house at Tarmonbarry, Co Roscommon which sold for €141,000 or as much as 156pc over its €55,000 guide.

Just as future prospective buyers of adjoining properties will be able to use auction results to gauge their offers, the property price register too will provide prices from private treaty sales to guide prospective bids.

However, the property register comes with a health warning. Already the National Property Services Registration Authority (NPSRA) which compiles the register has acknowledged that it has made mistakes such as the instance of the two Limerick properties which the register indicated had been sold for millions when in fact they sold for only a fraction of that.

Nevertheless Tom Lynch, chief executive of the NPSRA, said that the mistakes applied to only about 20 of the thousands of prices shown.

But it is not just mistakes of which the site's users need to be wary. There can also be deals done by family members engaged in sales between each other at substantial discounts to the market values of adjoining properties.

In addition, the prices shown may reflect the much different condition of the properties.

For instance take Brookwood Crescent area in Artane, Dublin 5. Since the start of the year four houses sold on the crescent. One of these, Number 12 sold for €90,000 in January and another, Number 31, sold for €80,000 in August which on face value appears to be a price drop.

However a local agent also sold two other houses in August, and the register shows that these three bedroom houses sold for more than treble. Number 35 sold for €262,000 and number 36 sold for €285,000. The agent says that the register's prices for numbers 12 and 31 do not reflect the market reality for houses on the crescent.

So while the new price register is widely welcomed as helping to make market prices much more transparent, buyers still need to compare more than just prices when they are shopping around.

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